Only days after a fire in an Allston building killed a Boston University student, the owner of the building, Anna Belokurova, has reportedly been cited by Boston police for allegedly running an illegal rooming house, and using the basement of the premises as bedrooms. According to Boston police, Belokurova allowed 19 people to live in the 2 story house, a violation of a Boston city ordinance. The ordinance states that a maximum of 4 unrelated students may live in a dwelling at one time, and according to police, there were 6 Boston University students living on the premises at the time of Lee’s death. Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley said that his office was also investigating the incident to determine if criminal charges may be brought.
Any longtime New England resident is well aware of the danger of filling buildings over capacity. Two of the greatest tragedies in the history of the region have occurred as a result of nightclub fires – in 1942 at Cocoanut Grove in Boston, where 492 people were killed, and in 2003, at The Station in Rhode Island, where 100 people were killed and another 230 were seriously injured. These horrible tragedies both resulted from the nightclubs being over capacity at the time of the fire, limiting the ability for people to escape. Because of these dangers, cities, towns, and states often implement building and fire codes that limit the number of occupants in particular buildings. According to police, the City of Boston has such a regulation for residential homes, and the owner of this property allegedly violated it.
At the Boston personal injury and wrongful death firm of Heinlein Beeler Mingace & Heineman, P.C., we’ve represented a number of victims in premises liability cases like this one. Based on the news coming from the Boston police, this may be a tragedy that likely could have been prevented. If you or somebody you know has been injured or killed as a result of the negligence or safety violation of somebody else, call us today for a free consultation.